I like to fancy myself a video game collector and I tend to fixate on some pretty awful games, for whatever reason, I’m not sure, but I have a certain rule when it comes down to buying something I really want, no matter the price – I have to find it in-person and it must be complete with original case artwork and the instruction manual that I’ll never read more than once.
Sure, I could always just buy whatever I wanted online (and I’ve done this before), but I prefer the thrill of the hunt finding that game that has been eluding me for what seems like an eternity. I’ve driven 2 hours to buy a used copy of the original Army of Two, which I know is pretty terrible, but I like couch co-op games no matter how bad they may be. Driving two hours for a game that was only $3.99 seems like a bit of a waste, with gas prices on the rise and everything, but I could actually see what condition it was in and I get that giddy five year-old feeling every time I find something I’ve been hunting for an extended period of time. Today, for instance, I was on a road trip to Myrtle Beach and the local Gamestop had a used copy of Calling for the Wii, which I had been hunting for almost a year. It was a three hour drive that I would have gladly made just to purchase the game, but I was there on personal business and it caught me by surprise.
My girlfriend is just as bad as I am, so we enable each other for these extended road trips. When she lived in California, she drove more than a few hours to Las Vegas to pick up a copy of Fatal Frame 2 for PS2 rather than buy it online. It’s all part of the adventure. It’s not just an agonizing drive to pick up a game, returning home and placing it on our shelf. It’s the thrill of the hunt – plus the adventure is always something to do together.
Right now I’m on the prowl for some less-than-stellar titles that are relatively cheap, yet I can’t seem to find them anywhere in person. I wanted to share the top 5 on my list, but I’m also curious as to what [i]your[/i] elusive game(s) is/are, so feel free to comment and share your list. If you’ve driven a hefty distance to pick up a game that others would scoff at, share that too! I know I can’t be the only one.
#1 – Rule of Rose (PS2)
Being one of, if not the most expensive PS2 title currently, Rule of Rose is a controversial survival horror title that had an extremely limited release here in North America. Frowned upon due to implied sexual situations within the underage cast, Rule of Rose plays a lot like Clock Tower 3 and Haunting Ground, and nothing like Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It focuses more on the psychological aspect of the survival horror genre, over the usual tropes. The is the only game that I’d consider purchasing online because I have no faith that anyone who forked over the cash to buy Rule of Rose would ever consider trading it in, and I have never once seen a physical copy, even incomplete. Currently sitting around $80 for a used copy ($110 new), it’s definitely out of my price range, but is hands down the most sought after game on my list.
#2 – Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Wii)
Fragile Dreams is an interesting game developed by Namco Bandai and, thankfully, published in North America by XSEED, that was swept under the radar of many gamers due mostly in part to it being a Wii title. I completely missed the release of this title in 2010 and have regretted it ever since. Fragile Dreams is a unique combination of role-playing, adventure, exploration and paranormal encounters but not in the same sense that, say, Fatal Frame explores the paranormal side of horror. It’s very much a Japanese-style game and executes a delicious amalgamation of its lighthearted visuals and darker plot. I’d love to get my hands on a copy but have only seen a complete copy once; the 6 month time frame when I sold my original Wii and bought another. Go figure. To this day, I have yet to even find just the disc and the used price on both Amazon and eBay have tripled in 2012.
#3 – Ju-On: The Grudge (Wii)
Yes, I know, it’s not the best survival horror title, but I’m a fan of both versions of the film and survival horror games in general. I liked the first-person exploration experience in both Calling and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (which is very underrated, in my opinion) and I’m sure I’d like Ju-On enough to play through it at least once, but even if it sucks I’ve definitely played a lot worse. It’s one of those games that I decided to pick up one day and never found a copy, so I started to fixate on it. Since the start of 2012, Ju-On has gone from a $15 game to almost $60. I’ve seen a few complete, used copies go for $45 here and there, but the price spike on a game like this is kind of baffling. I also like the sound of bendy straws going UHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAA.
#4 – Arc Rise Fantasia (Wii)
Spiky haircut? Check. Giant sword that would break a mere mortal’s arm? Check. This must be a JRPG, so I have to own it. The final Wii title on my list is Arc Rise Fantasia, as you can tell by the cover art shown above. I usually buy whatever RPG releases in North America if I own the console (non-handhelds), but this one passed me by. I’ve asked around at the local Gamestop but the closest store to South Carolina that has a copy in stock is in Colorado.. ouch. Thankfully, Arc Rise Fantasia is only $15 complete on Amazon, so if I’m desperate enough for a (so-called) mediocre JRPG I can always just give up and pick one up online.
#5 – ObsCure (PS2)
The only survival horror title that we don’t own right now is ObsCure, capital C and all. Released in 2005 for the Playstation 2, ObsCure is known for being downright campy and an overall terrible game. I’ve played ObsCure: The Aftermath and enjoyed it for what it was, but I’d really like to get my hands on the original. A buddy of mine who has similar tastes in campy horror games played through it and sold me on the series a little over a year ago but I have yet to find a copy of the original.
So what game have you been hunting for? There are definitely more than five games that I’d buy if I found them, but these are definitely my top 5. They’re not AAA titles by any means, but a game doesn’t have to be a blockbuster for me to enjoy it.